5 Uses For Leftover Pumpkin In Your Garden

Shutterstock / Alexander Raths © Halloween pumpkin head jack lantern on wooden background;

Pumpkins are barely seen all year until October and then we’re stuck with an abundance of them, and there’s only so much autumn soup you can make.

15 million pumpkins are grown in the UK every year, but just over half are actually used for carving – meaning come 1st November there’s 8 million pumpkins dumped with the rest of the rubbish.

According to plant experts Primrose, there’s plenty of eco-friendly uses for your used pumpkin that actually benefit the health of your garden.

1 Bird feeder

Tit birding feeding from pumpkin

Pic: Shutterstock

There’s no need to ditch the pumpkin once you’ve finished carving it, as the large and shallow shape of the pumpkin inside makes for a great natural feeder. Simply cut the top off, hang in your garden using some sturdy string, fill with bird seed and watch your feathered friends tuck in!

2 Regrow your next pumpkins

Planting seed into peat pot. Sowing pumpkin seeds in soil. Agricultural activity and gardening at spring. Plant nursery;

Pic: Shutterstock

If pumpkin seeds aren’t your type of snack, you can store them instead and grow your very own Jack O’Lantern for next year.

Briefly rinse the seeds in running water to remove any pulp. Once you have your seeds, pick out the biggest ones as these will have a better chance of germinating. Store them in a cool, dry spot for one week then keep them in the fridge and come April, you can plant your pumpkin seeds ready for October.

3 Use as wildlife feed

Grey Squirrel Feeding on Pumpkin Seeds;

Pic: Shutterstock

Many animals can eat pumpkin and it’s a welcome, tasty snack during a season when many animals struggle to find food. Squirrels, foxes and badgers all enjoy the taste of pumpkin – simply chop up the insides and leave in dishes for animals to enjoy.

If you’re not a fan of encouraging animals to come to your garden, you can also donate your pumpkins to farms as animal feed – just make sure you’re removing any traces of candle wax before handing over your Jack O’Lantern.

4 Pumpkin planter

Hollow out the inside of your pumpkin and fill it until it’s half-full with potting soil. You can now use your pumpkin as an autumnal, decorative planter! To get longevity out of your pumpkin, make sure you choose plants that prefer the shade, as pumpkins will rot quicker in the sun and let off a nasty stench.

5 Compost

Fresh compost pile and old broken basket lit by the setting sun. Ecology and food waste concept.;

Pic: Shutterstock

Pumpkins are said to be a worm’s favourite food, which is why they make a great composting material. Simply smash up your pumpkin and place in your garden, cover with a few leaves so it doesn’t look unsightly and let nature get to work.


Moira Chisholm

I'm the Health Editor on My Weekly and am always interested to hear what's new in this fascinating field. I also deal with the gardening, shopping pages, general features, our website content and the Ask Helen problem page. I have a special interest in Christmas content because I'm on the team for Your Best Ever Christmas Magazine, too!